ALP, short for alkaline phosphatase, is an enzyme present throughout the body, with the highest concentration found in the liver and bones. It plays a vital role in various important processes, including bone growth, digestion, and liver function.
Normal ALP levels indicate a healthy liver, strong bones, and proper digestive function. These areas of health are closely linked to overall well-being and longevity. In fact, normal ALP levels, along with other biomarkers, have been associated with a longer and healthier life. Measuring ALP is particularly useful in determining biological age using the Levine clock, and monitoring its levels can help you track your progress towards a healthier life.
ALP is produced by the liver and cells involved in bone formation. Additionally, it plays a role in fat digestion in the small intestine. Therefore, measuring ALP provides valuable information about these three aspects of health.
(In women, naturally elevated ALP levels can be used to monitor the health of pregnancy.)
Elevated levels of ALP in the bloodstream, a condition known as hyperphosphatemia, can indicate various medical conditions, with the most common ones relating to the liver and bile ducts, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, and gallstones. These conditions often manifest with additional symptoms and abnormal test results. It's important to note that a high ALP level alone is not sufficient for a definitive diagnosis and may require further testing and investigation. Additionally, bone disorders, including osteoporosis, can also contribute to increased ALP levels.
Important Note: It is crucial to understand that an elevated ALP level is not conclusive evidence of a specific condition and should be followed up with additional assessments for accurate diagnosis.
Low levels of ALP in the blood, known as hypophosphatemia, are less common than high levels. Slight decreases in ALP levels are often within the normal range and do not raise significant concerns. However, in rare cases, very low levels can be observed, indicating the need to investigate potential deficiencies in essential compounds like vitamin D, magnesium, and zinc, as these are necessary for ALP production. Additionally, low ALP levels, in conjunction with other test results, may indicate an underactive thyroid gland, known as hypothyroidism. In extremely rare instances, a genetic disorder may be responsible for the low ALP level; however, this condition is inherited and presents noticeable symptoms early in life.
Typically, normal ALP levels for adults aged 18 and above are considered to be within the range of 0.7 to 1.9 µkat/L.